Since Tesla started the Model 3 release candidate program a few months ago, our tip line received Model 3 sightings almost daily.

Several of them were outside the US, but when it came attached with pictures, we quickly realized that the vehicle was often being confused with the Model X, which is still less familiar for a lot of people. We concluded that Model 3 has yet to make it outside the US… until now.

Last night, a Tesla Model 3 prototype was spotted arriving in New Zealand through the Auckland airport.

It’s the first time that the vehicle is spotted outside the US and at the same time, it increases significantly the distance of a sighting from Tesla’s Palo Alto headquarters, where most Model 3 release candidates have been spotted so far.

The last record was at a Supercharger in Cincinnati – 2,400 miles from Tesla’s headquarters.

On the Auckland EV owners group and Tesla Talk New Zealand group on Facebook, several people have been sharing pictures of the vehicle on a shipping platform at the airport:

Last year, Tesla said that it was seeing ‘overwhelming demand for Model 3’ in New Zealand, but Kiwi Model 3 reservation holders shouldn’t get too excited since it doesn’t mean that Tesla is preparing to ship the vehicle for customers in the country.

The plan has always been to progressively increase the radius of deliveries around the Fremont factory in California and as the Model 3 receive homologation in other markets. Therefore, the Model 3 wasn’t expected in New Zealand until well into 2018 – especially since it’s a right-hand drive market.

The first deliveries are still planned for July in California and Tesla will start going east through the US from there.

If we are speculating on the reason why a Model 3 prototype is showing up in New Zealand, our money would be for creating media content, videos and photo on the country’s scenic routes, or snow testing considering it’s winter there. If it’s your part of the world, keep an eye out and you could be among the first people to see a Model 3 in the wild outside of the US.

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